It's the second day of the first week of advent - the week of hope. Advent is one of my favorite times of year, when everything feels still and quiet. Advent is also a season of waiting.
This past week has been full. I taught Sunday School, and watched little eyes fill up with happiness as we made stars for our Christmas trees. I set plates in front of men and women and babies who may not know where their next meal is coming from, and the sheer gratitude in their eyes was enough to melt my heart. I celebrated my 18th birthday surrounded by friends, and so much laughter.
In all of it, I saw hope. Glistening, shining, shimmering hope that beamed radiantly into the darkness.
All of these sacred little moments, these tiny glimpses of what I imagine heaven to be like, I stored them up, treasuring them.
My heart felt spread open, and I remember standing on the edges of the banquet that night, watching people file into their seats while the band played and the table I was assigned to serve getting more and more full, and all I could think of was "I don't know how to do this."
I don't know how to keep loving when my heart is so full of the heartache of others.
Sometimes I don't know how to keep reaching for hope and finding the sacred when my own heart has been wounded so profoundly
For one of my classes, I participated in a 10 day spiritual practice, one where I spent time with God in a way that was easiest for me and one way that was hardest for me, each for 5 days. My journey circled a lot around the idea of guilt. Often there were nights when I would go to bed exhausted physically and emotionally, where I would sleep for 10 hours just to wake up and go back to bed 2 hours later.
Hope when I feel empty
Hope when I stand there and watch him walk away and something inside of me snaps
Hope when I am asked to give and give even when I have nothing left to offer
Hope when it all seems too heavy and hard
On Sunday in our church there were a few people who came to speak about Hope, one of them being my dad. And as he talked about hope, and friends gathered around me, reaching for my hands, I reflected on the hard plains that my family has toiled, and the strong legacy of the people that have come before me.
I feel blessed to come from such a strong line of men and women, people who were weak and human but strong and brave when it mattered
"She did put one foot in front of the other. This can be the biggest brave"
This Advent season, a season of waiting, a week of expectant hope, my heart is full: of the sacred and the substantial, of anticipation and the ache.
I am attempting to stay open, to stay spread out, because this is how hope begins to bloom
From the roots, from the soil, from the aching and laboring and loving and living and believing
I watched the sun rise this morning, delicate wisps of gold across the sky. I wonder if it always hurts to become, if the moment before the colors sweep across the sky the sun holds his breath in expectation, in hope, of all that is going to burst forth into the darkness.